Facebook & Hate

Where did all the hated come from? At what point did it become fashionable, even preferable, to lash out through emails, Facebook, editorials, even in person against others whose political or spiritual ideas differ from one’s own? How and why did we close our eyes, bury our heads in the sand, while the Nation “chose up sides” and created two opposing teams based upon the philosophy of “Us Against Them?” Have we been manipulated into intolerance or did we get here on our own?

What, exactly, have we become?

Recently I experienced the stark contrast in the ways in which we can choose to live our lives. I believe our very survival as a country rests upon each of us making the right choice.

On my Facebook page, through a Facebook “friend,” appeared several postings to another page that was titled “Dogs Against Romney.” It is what it’s titled. People who don’t think Mitt Romney should be President because he and his family traveled on vacation with their dog in his cage on the roof of their SUV.  As someone who has spent her life rescuing animals, I understand the outrage (although I’ve seen dogs on motorcycles thoroughly enjoying themselves so whose to judge?) but also commented on the page regarding the narrow and single issue approach to why someone would or would not vote for anyone when we have so many economic and foreign policy issue to address.

Expressing my thoughts was, apparently, my sin. What followed were personal attacks on me, targeting my heartlessness and my obvious hatred for Barack Obama. Neither is true, and both are extreme and personal attacks targeted at me rather than a dialogue about substance.

On the same day, I watched an interview with Chris Williams, a Mormon whose car was struck by a 17-year old drunk driver named Cameron White (also a Mormon). The accident instantly killed Williams’ pregnant wife, their unborn son, 11-year-old son and 9-year-old daughter. Only Williams survived. In the instant that he regained consciousness immediately following the accident and looked around the car, realizing his entire family was dead, he made the decision to forgive whoever had caused this tragedy. The entire story, including the ongoing relationship Williams and White maintain is chronicled in a new book titled “Let It Go.”

Since both the Facebook incident and the Williams/White interview occurred on the same day, I had to ponder the message. I believe that everything happens for a reason, and so I’ve come away with two thoughts…one personal, one Universal.

Personally, I’ve forgiven those who lashed out at me on Facebook for expressing my differing opinion and send them nothing but love and blessings in return. Universally, we need to awaken from this sleep of illusion that we are all separate, that we can treat one another any way we please and if that includes anger, hatred and even violence we can somehow survive and prosper.

As difficult as it is to comprehend Williams’ forgiveness, it is none-the-less a reality and a clear message about the powers of forgiveness and love. Forgiveness  (and tolerance) heal and we have become a critically wounded species. It is our only cure.

Refuse to be seduced by both the political war and the social media illusion that “I can attack you from a distance and somehow walk away myself unharmed.” We are all connected. Until we understand, accept and act upon this reality we will continue to try and destroy one another with words and weapons.

The saying is true.

United we stand, divided we fall.




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One Response to “Facebook & Hate”

  • I am saddened by this blog post. I had hoped that the Internet was the last bastion of free speech. It isn’t hard to adopt the philosophy of: I agree to disagree. I hope this doesn’t happen to you often, because I know you as a caring and sharing person. Keep doing YOU!